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How do narcissists react to criticism?

Posted 6 Dec 2009 at 19:19 PM by livelywoodsprite
Updated 7 Dec 2009 at 01:01 AM by livelywoodsprite

[FONT=Georgia][I]I've been reading a lot lately about how [/I][I]people think, and I have some personal experiences with a close member of my family who is a malignant narcissist, and I wanted to know how to get along better. I will be doing a series on my research.[/I][/FONT]


[SIZE=4][COLOR=Navy][B]Fascinating, isn't it . . . [/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]


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[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Narcissists invariably react with [I][B] narcissistic rage[/B][/I] to [I][B]narcissistic injury[/B][/I].[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Narcissistic injury (or wound) is any threat (real or imagined) to the narcissist's [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq3.html"]grandiose and fantastic[/URL] self-perception ([URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq48.html"]False Self[/URL]) as perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, and [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal10.html"]entitled[/URL] to special treatment and recognition, regardless of his actual accomplishments (or lack thereof).[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/npdglance.html"] narcissist[/URL] actively solicits [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq76.html"] Narcissistic Supply[/URL] –[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] adulation, compliments, admiration, subservience, attention, being feared –[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] from others in order to sustain his fragile and dysfunctional Ego. [/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Thus, he constantly courts possible rejection, [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq73.html"]criticism[/URL], disagreement, and even mockery.[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The narcissist is, therefore, dependent on other people. He is aware of the risks associated with such all-pervasive and essential dependence. He resents his weakness and dreads possible disruptions in the flow of his drug: [U][I][B]Narcissistic Supply. [/B][/I][/U]
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]He is caught between the rock of his habit and the hard place of his frustration. No wonder he is prone to raging, lashing and acting out, and to pathological, all-consuming [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal19.html"]envy[/URL] (all expressions of pent-up [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal50.html"]aggression[/URL]).[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The narcissist's [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/magicalthinking.html"]thinking is magical[/URL]. In his own mind, the narcissist is brilliant, perfect, [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/omnipotence.html"]omnipotent[/URL], [URL="http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/narcissisticabuse/message/4945"] omniscient[/URL], and unique.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Compliments and observations that accord with this inflated self-image ("The [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq48.html"]False Self[/URL]") are taken for granted and as a matter of course.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Having anticipated the praise as fully justified and in accordance with (his) "reality", the narcissist feels that his traits, behavior, and "accomplishments" have made the accolades and kudos happen, have generated them, and have brought them into being.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]He "annexes" positive input and feels, irrationally, that its source is internal, not external; that it is emanating from inside himself, not from outside, independent sources. He, therefore, takes positive narcissistic supply lightly.[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The narcissist treats disharmonious input - [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq73.html"]criticism, or disagreement[/URL], or data that negate the his self-perception - completely differently. He accords a far greater weight to these types of countervailing, challenging, and destabilizing information because they are felt by him to be "more real" and coming verily from the outside.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Obviously, the narcissist cannot cast himself as the cause and source of opprobrium, castigation, and mockery.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]This sourcing and weighing asymmetry is the reason for the narcissist's disproportionate reactions to perceived insults. He simply takes them as more "real" and more "serious".
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The narcissist is constantly on the lookout for slights. He is hypervigilant.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]He perceives every disagreement as criticism and every critical remark as complete and humiliating rejection: nothing short of a threat. Gradually, his mind turns into a chaotic battlefield of paranoia and [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal41.html"] ideas of reference[/URL].[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] The narcissist is forever trapped in the unresolved conflicts of his childhood (including the famous Oedipus Compl*e*x.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]This compels him to seek resolution by re-enacting these conflicts with significant others. But he is likely to return to the Primary Objects in his life (parents, authority figures, role models, or caregivers) to do either of two:[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][INDENT] [LIST=1][*] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] To "re-charge" the conflict "battery", or[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][*] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] When unable to re-enact the conflict with another.[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][/LIST] [/INDENT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] The narcissist relates to his human environment through his [B]unresolved conflicts[/B]. It is the energy of the tension thus created that sustains him.[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The narcissist is a person driven by perilously imminent eruptions, by the unsettling prospect of losing his precarious balance. Being a narcissist is a tightrope act. The narcissist must remain alert and on-edge. [I][B]Only in a constant state of active conflict does he attain the requisite levels of [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal64.html"]mental arousal[/URL].[/B][/I][/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][FONT=Book Antiqua]

[/FONT][/COLOR] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] This periodical interaction with the objects of his conflicts sustains the inner turmoil, keeps the narcissist on his toes, infuses him with the intoxicating feeling that he is alive.[/SIZE]

[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]********* The narcissist perceives every disagreement – let alone criticism – as nothing short of a threat. He reacts defensively. He becomes indignant, aggressive and cold. He detaches emotionally for fear of yet another (narcissistic) injury. [I]He devalues the person who made the disparaging remark.
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Most narcissists react [U]defensively[/U]. They become conspicuously indignant, aggressive, and cold. They detach emotionally for fear of yet another (narcissistic) injury. They devalue the person who made the disparaging remark, the critical comment, the unflattering observation, the innocuous joke at the narcissist's expense.[/SIZE]
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[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] By holding the critic in contempt, by diminishing the stature of the discordant conversant – the narcissist minimizes the impact of the disagreement or criticism on himself. This is a defense mechanism known as cognitive dissonance.[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] Like a trapped animal, the narcissist is forever on the lookout: was this comment meant to demean him? Was this utterance a deliberate attack?
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Gradually, his mind turns into a chaotic battlefield of paranoia and [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal41.html"]ideas of reference[/URL] until he loses touch with reality and retreats to his own world of fantasized and unchallenged grandiosity.[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] When the disagreement or criticism or disapproval or approbation are public, though, the narcissist tends to regard them as [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq76.html"]Narcissistic Supply[/URL]!
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Only when they are expressed in private – does the narcissist rage against them.[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] The cerebral narcissist is as competitive and [U][I]intolerant of criticism or disagreement [/I][/U]as his somatic counterpart. [/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The subjugation and subordination of others demand the establishment of his undisputed intellectual superiority or professional authority.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] Alexander Lowen wrote an excellent exposition of this "hidden or tacit competition". The cerebral narcissist aspires to perfection. Thus, even the slightest and most inconsequential challenge to his authority is inflated by him. Hence, the disproportionateness of his reactions.[/SIZE]

[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]When confronting adversity fails, some narcissists resort to denial, which they apply to their "extensions" (family, business, workplace, friends) as well.

[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] Take, for example, the narcissist’s family. Narcissists often instruct, order, or threaten their [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq22.html"]children[/URL] into hiding the truth of abuse, malfunction, maladaptation, fear, pervasive sadness, violence, mutual hatred and mutual repulsion which are the hallmarks of the narcissistic family.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] "Not to wash the family's dirty linen in public" is a common exhortation. The whole [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal79.html"]family conforms[/URL] to the fantastic, grandiose, perfect and superior [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal75.html"]narrative[/URL] invented by the narcissist. The family becomes an extension of the False Self. This is an important function of these Sources of Secondary Narcissistic Supply.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] [U][I][B]Criticizing, disagreeing, or exposing these fiction and lies, penetrating the family's facade, are considered to be mortal sins. [/B][/I][/U]The sinner is immediately subjected to severe and constant emotional harassment, guilt and blame, and to abuse, including physical abuse. This state of things is especially typical of families with sexual abuse.[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3] Behaviour modification techniques are liberally used by the narcissist to ensure that the skeletons do stay in the family cupboards. An unexpected by-product of this atmosphere of concealment and falsity is mutiny.
[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The narcissist's spouse or his adolescent children are likely to exploit the narcissist's vulnerabilities - his proneness to secrecy, self-delusion, and aversion to the truth - to rebel against him. [/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]The first thing to crumble in the narcissist's family is this shared psychosis - the mass denial and the secretiveness so diligently cultivated by him.[/SIZE]
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[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3][I][B]Note - Narcissistic Rage[/B][/I][/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Narcissists can be imperturbable, resilient to stress, and sangfroid.[/SIZE]

[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Narcissistic rage is not a reaction to stress - it is a reaction to a perceived slight, insult, criticism, or disagreement.[/SIZE]

[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury.[/SIZE]

[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]Rage has two forms, though:[/SIZE]

[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]I. [I][B]Explosive[/B][/I] - The narcissist erupts, attacks everyone in his immediate vicinity, causes damage to objects or people, and is verbally and psychologically abusive.[/SIZE]

[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]II. [B][I]Pernicious[/I][/B] or [I][B]Passive-Aggressive (P/A)[/B][/I] - the narcissist sulks, gives the silent treatment, and is plotting how to punish the transgressor and put her in her proper place.

These narcissists are [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq75.html"]vindictive[/URL] and often become [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/abusefamily14.html"]stalkers[/URL]. They harass and haunt the objects of their frustration.
They sabotage and damage the work and possessions of people whom they regard to be the sources of their mounting frustration.

[/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3][I][B]Note:
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3][I][B]Narcissistic Injury, Narcissistic Wound, and Narcissistic Scar[/B][/I][/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3][I][B]Narcissistic Injury[/B][/I][/SIZE]

[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]An [B]occasional or circumstantial[/B] threat (real or imagined) to the narcissist's [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq3.html"] grandiose and fantastic[/URL] self-perception ([URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq48.html"]False Self[/URL]) as perfect, [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/omnipotence.html"] omnipotent[/URL], [URL="http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/narcissisticabuse/message/4945"] omniscient[/URL], and [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal10.html"]entitled[/URL] to special treatment and recognition, regardless of his actual accomplishments (or lack thereof).[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3][I][B]Narcissistic Wound[/B][/I][/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]A [B]repeated or recurrent identical or similar[/B] threat (real or imagined) to the narcissist's [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq3.html"]grandiose and fantastic[/URL] self-perception ([URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq48.html"]False Self[/URL]) as perfect, [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/omnipotence.html"]omnipotent[/URL], [URL="http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/narcissisticabuse/message/4945"] omniscient[/URL], and [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal10.html"]entitled[/URL] to special treatment and recognition, regardless of his actual accomplishments (or lack thereof).[/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3][I][B]Narcissistic Scar[/B][/I][/SIZE]
[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][SIZE=3]A [B]repeated or recurrent [/B]psychological defence against a narcissistic wound. Such a narcissistic defence is intended to sustain and preserve the narcissist's [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq3.html"] grandiose and fantastic[/URL] self-perception ([URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/faq48.html"]False Self[/URL]) as perfect, [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/omnipotence.html"] omnipotent[/URL], [URL="http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/narcissisticabuse/message/4945"] omniscient[/URL], and [URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/journal10.html"]entitled[/URL] to special treatment and recognition, regardless of his actual accomplishments (or lack thereof).[/SIZE]
[/quote][LEFT] [SIZE=4][B][I]Narcissists,Disagreement and Criticism

[LEFT] [I][B]Narcissism, Pathological Narcissism, The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the Narcissist, and Relationships with Abusive Narcissists and Psychopaths

[SIZE=3][B][I]By: [/I][/B][URL="http://samvak.tripod.com/cv.html"][B][I]Dr. Sam Vaknin[/I][/B][/URL][/SIZE]

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